GameDay Preview: Cavs vs. Bucks

Jarrett Jack
David Liam Kyle/NBAE/GettyImages

Game Summary

The Wine and Gold and the Milwaukee Bucks square off tonight at The Q for the second of four regular season matchups in 2013-14. Tipoff is at 7:30 p.m. ET.

Cleveland (9-15) is 4-1 in the last five games at Quicken Loans Arena. Over that stretch, they are outscoring opponents 101.6 to 95.2.

In addition, the Cavaliers have also held foes under 100 points in nine of 11 contests at The Q where they are 7-4 on the season.

Milwaukee (5-20) enters tonight's matchup on a four-game losing streak after falling to the New York Knicks 107-101 in double-overtime on Wednesday night. Brandon Knight paced the Bucks with a career-high 36 points while John Henson had a double-double tallying 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Probable Starters/Injury Report* presented by Cleveland Clinic

Cleveland ClinicCavaliers: PG - Kyrie Irving, SG - C.J. Miles, SF - Alonzo Gee
PF - Tristan Thompson, C - Andrew Bynum

Bucks: PG - Brandon Knight, SG - Giannis Antetokounmpo, SF - Khris Middleton
PF - Ersan Ilyasova, C - John Henson

Injuries: (Cavs) - None to Report

(Bucks) - Caron Butler, (Sore Left Knee, Probable)

, Carlos Delfino, (Post-Surgery, Right Foot, Out), Zaza Pachulia, (Right Foot Fracture, Out), Larry Sanders, (Post-Surgery, Right Thumb, Out)

*Subject to change

Head-to-Head Matchup

The last time the two Central Division rivals faced off, Cleveland made a then season-high 12 three-pointers and turned the ball over just nine times.

All-time, the Wine and Gold are 79-113 against Milwaukee (48-47 Home, 31-65 Road).

Key to the Game/Key Matchup

Offensive Efficiency

Coming into tonight’s contest, the Cavaliers are 5-3 over their last eight contests (Nov. 30-Dec. 17) due in large part to their efficiency at the offensive end.

Cleveland is averaging 101.6 points over the last eight games, including 110.3 points on .493 (171-347) shooting from the field in the last four contests. The Cavs have scored at least 107 points in four straight games for the first time since April 4-9, 2010. Since Dec. 10, the Cavs are the 2nd highest scoring team in the NBA (110.3), behind only Portland (117.8).

Key Matchup

Backcourt Battle

Recently, Milwaukee's backcourt has received a big boost from rookie Giannis Antetokounmpo. Antetokounmpo earned his first career start on Wednesday against the Knicks and recorded 10 points, seven rebounds and two steals in a season-high 42 minutes. The Greek guard has grabbed 7+ rebounds in four consecutive games, and is averaging 11.5 points and 8.3 rebounds in 33.4 minutes in those games.

Joining Antetokounmpo is the starting backcourt will be Brandon Knight. As mentioned, Knight set a career-high with 36 points in Milwaukee's last outing. He had 22 points in the first half alone, which were the most by a Buck in either half this season (previously 20, two times). Knight also set a career high with six 3-point field goals made in that matchup against the Knicks.

Against the Trail Blazers on Tuesday, Dion Waiters led all bench players with 25 points (11 in the 4th Q) on 11-19 (.579) shooting, three rebounds, five assists and one steal in 31 minutes. Over the last 10 contests (Nov. 27-Dec. 17), he has six 20-point games and is averaging 17.1 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 29.4 minutes per game. He had 21 points on 7-13 (.538) shooting, three rebounds and three assists in 30 minutes in the Nov. 6th meeting with Milwaukee.

Jarrett Jack leads all Eastern Conference reserves in assists per game at 3.7 (7th-best among all NBA bench players). He has scored in double figures in five of the last six contests (Dec. 6-17) with averages of 11.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in 25.8 minutes.

Kyrie Irving, the reigning Eastern Conference Player of the Week (Dec. 9-15), has scored at least 26 points in six of his seven career games against Milwaukee and has career averages of 27.0 points on .548 (69-126) shooting, including .586 (17-29) from deep and .971 (34-35) from the foul line, in 33.6 minutes per game against the Bucks. In the only meeting between the Cavs and Bucks this season, Irving tallied a game-high 29 points on 10-20 (.500) shooting, including 4-6 (.667) from deep, five rebounds and a game-high eight assists in 35 minutes.

Where to Catch the Action

TV: FOX Sports Ohio, Radio: WTAM 1100, NBA League Pass Audio, XM & Sirius 219

For live in-game updates, follow @cavs, @CavsJoeG, @CavsFredMcLeod, @MrCavalier34, @CavsJMike and @chones22 on Twitter.

Be sure to check for Joe Gabriele's live in-game blog providing instant analysis and game notes. Plus, get into the discussion as die-hard Cavs fans talk about the game on CavFanatic's GameDay Thread.

Promotions/Available Ticket Offers

  • Anderson Varejao Bobblehead presented by Ohio Lottery
Available Ticket Offers:

On Deck

After tonight's game, the Cavs head to the Windy City tomorrow night to take on the Chicago Bulls at 8:00 p.m. ET.